Detailed reasoning for his judgment was mostly based on thefacts with the first issue raised by the appeal. And he dismissed the secondand third issues before the court of appeal on the ground that they werealready disputed. Rix LJ referred to HHJ Freeland QC’s facts on the appeal andobserved following acts.§ PC Adams’s evidence stated that when he arrivedat the scene, the appellant’s girlfriend told him that the appellant punchedher. PC Barton and PC Cracknell both supported the PC Adams’s evidence.
§ The appellant was standing in a doorway and PC Adamshad cornered the appellant so that he couldn’t get escape. PC Adams’s firstwords, in accordance with his witness statement, were “Calm down mate or youwill end up getting arrested”. § At the doorway, PC Adams was pushed by theappellant in the chest. The PC Adams told the appellant that he was underarrest for ‘public order’.
PC Adams couldn’t complete the sentence he was goingto say because the fight broke out. § Judge accepted that PC Adams had section 5 ofthe Public Order Act 1986 in mind and that’s indeed what he was going to say.§ The appellant was already in aggressive state ofmind from the initial fight with his girlfriend. Therefore, it’s safe to assumethat appellant’s behavior was disorderly and disproportionate to the PC Adams’skind request to calm down.
§ The judge has also found that appellant’sbehavior was gross overreaction for the PC Adams’s kind request to calm down.§ The appellant has bit PC Adams by his arm and afinger before being arrested by Police.§ At the trial judge described the appellants asan unreliable and unimpressive witness. He found that appellants first claim was allowed onthe ground that his initial detention in the doorway by PC Adams was unlawfuland accepted that appellant is entitled to damages for only brief and”technical” imprisonment, immediately before his unreasonable, disproportionateand violent behavior prior to the arrest. It was accepted by defense counselthat this behavior amounted to a detention. On this ground, appellant arguedthat, the initial detention was unlawful and made him to use reasonable forceto escape himself from what was an unlawful, if brief, imprisonment.But however, Rix LJ identified thatthe PC Adams’s initial detention in the doorway wasn’t to arrest the appellant,but to pursue further inquiries about the incident. Court accepted the appellants briefimprisonment as a technical detention even though it had lasted for fewseconds.
Quoting (Bird V Jones, Halsbury’s Laws) “For however short a time”.But also, it did not amount to a deprivation of liberty.Just after the outbreak of thefight with appellant, PC Adams said “Public Order” and Rix LJ identifiedthat PC Adams had Section 5 of the Public Order Act in mind but could notcomplete what he was about to say. And further Rix LJ found that after thefight, the appellant had been given full and adequate reasons for hisimprisonment prior to his arrest.Rix LJ further said that he wouldhave assessed the Appellant’s damages at only £5. He added that he would haveawarded £1,400 for assault, upon proven, and £2,000 for the imprisonment of 7hours which followed.
Tomlinson LJ:Agreed to Rix LJ’s decision. Further said appellant’s conduct attracts nosympathy but that is of course often the way when a fundamental constitutionalprincipal at stake. The detention was indeed trivial, but that can and shouldbe reflected in the measure of damages and does not render lawful that whichwas unlawful. The judge’s assessment of £5 as the appropriate figure which was generousto appellant, but there is no appeal against that assessment.